Westcoast Songfest has kids singing en masse in Joondalup

Songfest’s Donna Marwick-O’Brien, Judy Vorster and Helen Fabri.
Songfest’s Donna Marwick-O’Brien, Judy Vorster and Helen Fabri.

OVER three days last week, starting at nine in the morning, thousands of primary school children entered Arena Joondalup and came together for the first time and formed a mass choir.

For the next two and a half hours the children rehearsed a program of songs they had been taught at their schools.

Then after lunch at 12.30pm sharp, watched by an animated audience of mums, dads, grandparents and teachers, the magic began. The Westcoast Songfest was back in town.

Established in 2000 to provide an opportunity for developing primary school choirs to perform in a non-competitive environment, it started with six choirs and 450 students. However, much has happened since then.

In the 2015 Songfest, 86 school choirs and 4600 children took part.

The music and song extravaganza has grown so big it has to be split into three separate groups and perform over three days at Arena Joondalup.

However, the first Songfest this year was held in Rockingham in October, where a modest eight school choirs and 385 children took part.

It was a first for Rockingham and proved a great success.

Westcoast Songfest musical director Donna Marwick-O’Brien said it was no accident the Songfest was popular with parents, music teachers and students.

“Many of today’s popular songs have great tunes, but negative lyrics,” she said.

“The Songfest is about great tunes and positive lyrics.

“So with 4600 children learning and singing songs of peace, joy, love and harmony we hope we are contributing to more positive thinking and outcomes.”

Songfest founder Judy Vorster, who now lives in Queensland, was a special guest. Mrs Vorster praised the performances.

“When you start something like this you have a vision of what it might become,” she said.

“Donna, Helen Fabri, and their committee have realised that vision.”